If you are like many in Georgia, you understand the pros and cons of having enormous power plants in your neighborhood. The plants keep taxes low, provide jobs for local families and often contribute to the protection of the environment by developing state-of-the-art controls for waste disposal and emissions. However, those environmental protections do not always come through, especially if the energy company finds a cheaper way to manufacture fuel.
Biomass power plants use wood waste and other renewable sources of energy to fuel their production. Ideally, this should make for cleaner operations. However, several power plants in Georgia routinely fuel their operations by burning old railroad ties treated with chemicals. The result is noxious odors and toxic air pollution drifting over nearby neighborhoods. You may be among those whose peaceful existence is disrupted by these and other kinds of pollutants that emanate from power plants, factories and similar businesses.
Do the pros outweigh the cons in your neighborhood?
Georgia residents have a lot to put up with when it comes to odors. Corporate farms often produce unbearable stench from the waste of animals, and factories may emit clouds of malodorous smoke into the air, not to mention the pollutants they often dump into the water systems.
Some feel the biomass power plants are putting their health at risk by burning creosote-soaked wood instead of the forest products, such as clear-cutting remnants, that they promised to use when they first established their plants in this state. You and your neighbors may be dealing with any of the following results of power plants using chemically treated wood for fuel:
- The regular arrival of trucks loaded with railroad ties at the plant
- Clouds of carcinogenic smoke from burning railroad ties
- Coal ash residue covering your property
- Toxic runoff in rainstorms that result in water pollution and fish kills
- Output from smokestacks that sends an annoying and potentially harmful odor on the breeze
Lawmakers are working to pass legislation to ban the burning of crossties and power poles that are treated with creosote and other harmful chemicals. While politicians and lawmakers may be trying to improve the situation in your neighborhood, you may wish to take your own legal actions to resolve the issue and send a strong message to companies that place your quality of life and the health of your loved ones in danger.